The Northwest Passage
FLIGHT NOME/SEATTLE + TRANSFERS
Explore the expanse of the Arctic world during extraordinary polar odyssey that will take you from Iceland to Alaska, via the mythical Northwest Passage.
Le Commandant Charcot, a luxurious vessel fitted out to navigate in extreme zones, will take you to a literal labyrinth of icy channels, inaccessible to traditional ships.
The Hudson Strait, Foxe Basin, Fury and Hecla Strait, all legendary names, follow one another and will plunge you, like modern-day explorers, into one of the most mythical sagas of polar exploration. In untamed and wild nature, you will have the privilege of sailing along Greenland.
On your route, you will visit an Inuit village and witness Banks Island, famous for the wreck of HMS Investigator lying offshore and also for its National Park with its abundant fauna anf home to the world’s largest concentration of musk oxen.
Beyond the Arctic Circle, your senses will further be ignited as the sight of the glistening ice floes, blue-tinged glaciers, rugged mountain chains and rolling tundra captivates you. Long fantasised about before being discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, the Northwest Passage promises you a trip that is synonymous with going back to basics.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation, mainly in the fjords, will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the coastal ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing programme, outings, activities and observation of fauna cannot be guaranteed and are subject to weather and ice conditions. The experiences are unique and vary from day to day and for each departure. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while respecting safety instructions and regulations imposed by the AECO.
About Le Commandant Charcot
PONANT’s latest addition to the fleet, Le Commandant Charcot - the very first luxury hybrid electric polar exploration ship powered by liquified natural gas, is the epitome of responsible and sustainable sailing. Safe and low impact polar navigation is her area of expertise, taking advantage of the latest innovations and even developing new, market-leading technologies and solutions to make Le Commandant Charcot one of the most advanced polar vessels at sea today.
The art of polar navigation
Le Commandant Charcot is the world's first passenger ship to be fitted with a Polar Class 2 (PC2) hull. This gives it the ability to sail between the sheets of drifting sea ice and reach the most remote and isolated regions, when conditions allow. Protecting the polar ecosystems and the coastal sea ice – a vital habitat for marine wildlife – is our priority. Expertise, innovation, humility before nature, cooperation with local peoples and ensuring a minimal impact on the environment are the fundamental concepts behind responsible exploration.
Pioneer of safety regulations in the polar regions
The rescue and safety equipment developed and designed from scratch by PONANT for Le Commandant Charcot (Ice Cube, group survival kit, floating polar shelters and survival suits) currently exceed the existing safety criteria established by the tourism industry as well as the military, raise the bar for maritime safety and standards in polar tourism, and help experts across the world to devise new safety strategies.
What is the French Touch exactly? …
The French Touch is above all a French crew, there to welcome you and ensure your well-being during your cruise.
It’s also the French art of living that travels with us, where discreet service and excellent cuisine naturally take pride of place. Each day, our French chefs will introduce you to fragrant flavours, cheeses carefully selected by expert cheese affineurs, delicious specialty breads and sweet pastries. All of this is accompanied by a selection of fine wines to complement your meal, or you may choose from a superb “à la carte” list of grand cru wines and our on-board sommelier will be only too happy to advise you.
The French Touch is also evident in our choice of partners, whose expertise and passion for their work matches our own quest for excellence: interior design by Jean-Philippe NUEL, beauty treatments by Sothy’s, fabrics by Pierre FREY, travel beauty kits by L’Occitane, a range of boutiques including Lacoste and Façonnable, french Champagne Veuve Clicquot, luxury bakery and sweets by Ladurée...
Finally, the French Touch is perhaps simply the subtle blend of relaxed elegance and conviviality, that certain je ne sais quoi that our passengers so appreciate, buoyed by the elegant authenticity of our trips and the personality of our ships.
Our concern for the health and well-being of the planet is demonstrated by our active involvement in organizations dedicated to the promotion of ecologically responsible tourism and to the sharing of best practices. We are a proud member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and a signatory of La Charte Bleue d’Armateurs de France, both of which bind us to follow the most stringent rules and regulations governing safety and environmental protection.
Above and beyond participation in these organizations, we have taken the additional step of having all of our ships certified “Clean Ship” by the French classification society, Bureau Veritas, one of the world’s major ship classification societies. This coveted and seldom-awarded certification recognizes that the PONANT fleet—from initial design and construction to seagoing operations—has adopted the most environmentally responsible materials, equipment, and management procedures possible. Some of these state-of-the-art systems and processes include:
- A silent electric propulsion system, with main engines and electric generators that use advanced control systems and burning light, low-sulfur fuels, reducing fuel consumption by up to 30% and greenhouse gas emissions by 40%
- All ships are equipped with Dynamic Positioning, a sophisticated computer-controlled system, which allows them to maintain a mooring position without dropping anchor, thus eliminating potential damage to sensitive areas
- Black water (sewage) is filtered and treated aboard ship; any solid residues at the end of the process are stored until they can be properly discharged ashore
- Grey water (showers, dishwashers, laundry) is treated and recycled for use in cleaning the outside decks
- Solid wastes (glass, paper, medical, food, etc.) are sorted, compacted where appropriate, and stored in refrigerated compartments until they can be properly disposed ashore
- Bilgewater is treated with ceramic filtration systems to obtain an extremely low hydrocarbon content (less than 5 PPM instead of the regulatory 15 PPM)
- The lighting aboard, based on LED and CFR technology, reduces up to 10 times the electrical power required from the ship’s electric generators
- Far-sounding sonar, in addition to providing the bridge with 3-D pictures of the ocean floor, icebergs, and ice floes, also minimizes the risk of collision with marine mammals
Ponant’s cruise ships, L’Austral, Le Boréal, Le Soléal, and Le Lyrial are not only the newest, and most elegant, and most comfortable ships afloat, they are also the most eco-friendly.
Service, Five-Star Facilities & Gourmet Cuisine: On Course for Excellence
Attentive, discreet and elegant, the fully bilingual service aboard our ships will meet your every desire. Our unique atmosphere is filled with a signature sentiment: a warm welcome from an experienced crew who are passionate about what they do. Like in a private yacht, you will live exceptional moments, between luxury and snugness.
In the dining areas, our gourmet cuisine is worthy of top fine dining restaurants: menus are created with expertise by our skilled chefs with a French-inspired menu enhanced by specialties from our various ports of call, accompanied by exquisite wines.
Luxury, comfort and pleasure: relax and enjoy your cruise - we take care of everything...
PONANT offers to you chic cruising without the crowds: experience the comfort of a private cruise onboard vessels of an intimate size, exclusive to between 64 to 264 guests.
Each of our cruise ships has elegant and uncluttered interiors, delight in the fun and casual elegance onboard without the formalities. Crew members, all versed in elegant discretion, will see to it that you enjoy a welcome that will make your cruise a unique experience. You will savor an exquisite dining with French and international cuisine, with complimentary wines included at lunch and dinner.
During your cruise aboard one of our ships, discover exceptional sites and come closed to landscapes so often inaccessible to large ships. Enjoy also seminars with international experts, passionate about their subjects, giving a further dimension to the sights you see.
PONANT offers to you an alternative to many other traditional cruise lines: discover the world with French chic and elegance.
A French crew, expertise, attentive service, fine dining and more. Within a fully 5 star setting, we take you to discover exceptional destinations while offering you a travel experience that is both authentic and high end.
Travelling the French way
As the only cruise company sailing under the French flag, PONANT is an exponent for the French way of life across every sea on the globe. On board, this is translated through exceptional services, a multilingual crew and bringing French know-how to the fore.
From secluded ports to secret seas, from forgotten beaches to remote lands, our experts choose itineraries that take you away from major tourist routes so you can enjoy unique cruises and shorelines that few have seen before.
Ships on a human scale
Thanks to our small capacity ships, we can dock in private ports and offer stopovers in preserved locations. On board, the limited number of passengers means that everybody can enjoy special moments and feel as though they are on a private yacht.